Oh, enthral my ears! In fact, the only hope to stop the gab beguiling in a land
that bore the likes of Joyce and Wilde is to get lost instead in a pair of glinting
Irish eyes set fair in a fresh lad's face. The Dublin gay scene is as friendly,
playful and eccentric as you could want, spread out just nicely each side of the
Liffey, under an hour away by air from most UK cities. The age of consent in this
nation of boy bands and Euros is 17 for all persuasions.
The house where Oscar Wilde
was brought up is open for guided tours. It's now owned by an American College
and they've restored ground and first floors to their former Victorian glory.
Starting south of the river, the Stonewall Café is a mixed but favoured homo haunt
serving basic food at good prices, and retaining more than just a hint of the greasy
spoon. This area is a particular boon for veggie queens, with bustling Cornucopia
over the road offering cheap pulses and gruels - wind enough to hoist your sail -
or try the pricier Juice around the corner for that authentic New Age Queer
Due north in the revitalised riverside Temple Bar, the mixed Front Lounge style
saloon gets almost completely overrun by gays on the upper level. Smooching your
lover boy in a comfy sofa for all the straights below to view, it's a great daytime
chill zone or the perfect spring board for the night ahead.
Just over the river and in stark contrast, Out on the Liffey is best described as
'unpolished' - pretensions barred. It gets particularly cruisy and men-only on a
Saturday, with its infamous mirror urinals where all can see all and often do.
Staying on the north bank and just round the corner, you're soon back in style
again with recently opened GUBU setting the trend with crowds of bright young things
propping up its long bar in between smiling and laughing and making trips to the
Back across the river and The George is the scene's oldest and biggest bar - a tried
and tested trouper. Attracting all sorts with its timeless mix of karaoke and drag,
it expands upstairs - most notably on a Saturday - from which gallery you can gaze
down upon carefree gays shimmying away beneath. And though much of the Dublin scene
is lads and lasses all mixed, girls can go off and get it together without distraction
at Molloy's on the High Street all week round.
Legs still left on you? Well located on the corner of Kildare St, beneath The Earl of Kildare
Hotel Peig's has a gay night on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. If it's Monday try
SLAM for a darned good laugh - all ages but not least those naughty student stop-outs.
Boilerhouse is the largest, busiest sauna in town with all the booths and trappings
imaginable, though some still stick to the smaller Dock attached to the Inn on the
Liffey just back over the water. But if you like to work up a sweat outside, then
cruise straight to the Papal Cross monument after dark in Phoenix Park north-west
of centre - perhaps the Pope's most tangible legacy after his visit a few decades
Apart from all the shops and boutiques along Dublin's famous Grafton Street off
College Green, you might find Basic Instinct of use for your mags, videos, leather
and rubber requirements - something to suit all knobs and knockers. And for a spot
of culture, you can pay homage at Oscar Wilde's House where the self-declared genius
spent his formative years with his family until the age of twenty one.
We can recommend Frankie's Guesthouse, a delightful exclusively lesbian and gay affair
in a pretty Georgian terrace mews offering hefty Irish breakfasts and overseen masterfully
by the colourful character that is Frankie. You can also click the Bookings button below for
great deals on a variety of Dublin hotels.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Stonewall Café (18 Exchequer Street; T: 00353 1 672 7323)
Cornucopia (19 Wicklow Street; T: 00353 1 677 7583)
Juice (73 South Great George Street; T: 00353 1 475 7856)
Front Lounge (33 Parliament Street, Temple Bar; T: 00353 1 670 4112)
GUBU (7-8 Capel Street; 00353 1 874 0483)
Out on the Liffey (27 Ormond Quay Upper; T: 00353 1 872 2480)
The George (89 South Great George's Street; T: 00353 1 478 2983)
Molloy's (13 High Street)
Peig's (Corner of Kildare St, beneath The Earl of Kildare Hotel)
SLAM (Switch, Eustace Street, Temple Bar; T: 00353 1 670 7655)
The Boilerhouse (12 Crane Lane, Temple Bar; T: 00353 1 677 3130)
The Dock (21 Ormond Quay Upper; T: 00353 1 872 4172)
Basic Instinct (60a South William Street; T: 00353 1 671 2223)
Oscar Wilde's House (1 Merrion Square; T: 00353 1 662 0281)
Frankie's Guesthouse (8 Camden Place; T: 00353 1 478 3087; Website.)
Revised February 2015.